Private Tasting: Vertical of Dutschke St. Jakobi Shiraz

By Kori ~ August 19th, 2009.

Dutschke St. Jakobi ShirazIf you are a fan of Shiraz or Syrah and have not tried Dutschke St. Jakobi from the Barossa Valley of Australia, you are missing out. We stumbled upon Dutschke when we were visiting Australia in 2005. One night when we were out to dinner at a restaurant in Adelaide, we ordered a bottle of their “house” Shiraz. The waiter brought the bottle, poured our glasses, and we each took a sip. We looked up at each other with mutual recognition that this was an excellent wine. What in the world is this no-name house wine, we wondered. We had already tasted many Shirazes in both the Hunter Valley and the Barossa Valley on our trip and this wine was one of the best we’d had. We asked the waiter who produced this wine. He told us that he was not allowed to say. After much cajoling and assuring him that we were from the United States and wouldn’t be telling anyone in Adelaide, he relented and told us that it was produced by Dutschke. Unfortunately, we were near the end of our trip and Dutschke does not have a cellar door, so we were unable to visit. However, after we returned home, we contacted Dutschke to see if we could get their wines in the U.S. Thankfully, the answer was (and still is) “yes”!

From that moment on, we’ve had a love affair with Dutschke wines, buying each new vintage when it is released. Recently, in one of our private tasting dinners, we had what turned out to be a three bottle vertical of Dutschke St. Jakobi Shiraz with their 1998, 1999, and 2002 vintages. All three of these wines were fabulous. In addition to being high quality, the wines also bring serious bang for your buck. And anyone that questions the ageability of Australian Shiraz should note that these wines are seven to eleven years old. For a more complete description of how we set up these private tastings, please refer to How We Taste.

Chuck roast with onion and carrots, brown rice, and green bean bundlesSt. Jakobi is the estate vineyard for Dutschke Wines and is named for the nearby St. Jakobi Lutheran Church. Located in Lyndoch in the Barossa Valley of South Australia, this vineyard dates back to the 19th century. Oscar Semmler, winemaker Wayne Dutschke’s grandfather, bought the vineyard in the 1930’s. Oscar’s son Ken got involved around 1975 and planted Shiraz. The majority of their fruit was sold to other Barossa Valley winemakers. In 1990, Ken Semmler and Wayne Dutschke decided to keep some of their grapes and produce some wine of their own. Originally named Willow Bend, the winery name was changed to Dutschke with the 1998 vintage.

Since these are older vintages, they may be difficult to find. However, this wine has been so consistent for us that I’d encourage you to give the current vintage a try.

1999 Dutschke St. Jakobi Shiraz (Barossa Valley, Australia): Deep garnet red. Very aromatic with dark cherry, oak, vanilla, and cinnamon coming through on the nose. Dark fruits and black pepper on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with medium to high tannins and a very long finish. Bold yet smooth and extremely well-balanced.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Premier Cru (California), $16

2002 Dutschke St. Jakobi Shiraz (Barossa Valley, Australia): Very dark red. Black fruit aromas, particularly plums, along with black pepper and vanilla. Flavors of blackberry, plums, and blackcurrant. Medium to full-bodied with medium to high tannins and a long finish. Big, bold, and smooth.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Old Town Cellar (California), $32.99; Available elsewhere, $35 to $40

1998 Dutschke St. Jakobi Shiraz (Barossa Valley, Australia): Dark red. Blackberry and mint aromas with black and blue fruit flavors. Medium to full-bodied with medium tannins. Smooth with a long, slightly bitter, finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: The Jug Shop (California), $29.90; Available elsewhere, $20 to $39

Filed under: Australian Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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